The Freeman's Burden:

To defend the principles of human liberty; to educate; to be vigilant against the ever expanding power of the state.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Tipping point?

There have been a number of important developments in the Middle East in the last few days, starting with the Iraqi elections. Since then, there have been important moves towards the Bush administrations desired ends.
This includes today's resignation of the Lebanese Syrian-supported government. This is particularly strange given that all that they were facing was a no confidence vote by a legislature that is stacked with supporters. I can't help but wonder what is really going on there. Given the attacks on Harari and the Tel Aviv nightclub combined with the tepid response to UN sanctions threats, the announcement of a joint defense treaty with Iran, and the recent hand over of Saddam's Brother-in-law to the Iraqi government, Syria is looking a lot like a state undergoing an internal power struggle. Numerous, often contradictory agendas are bubbling to the surface and the Syrians have been unable to present a cogent message or a unified front to the international community. I have long suspected that Bassir al-Asad lacked the charisma and toughness that allowed his father to ride the tiger of the Syrian state apparatus for so long without getting bitten. The seeming confusion by the Syrians of how to react with a spiraling series of events pressing it from many sides is indicative of a lack of leadership. This may present the Lebanese, the Israelis, the French and the Americans the rare opportunity to give Syria a little push that could lead to, at the least, the end of the occupation of Lebanon and could ultimately see something of a democratic movement within Syria. It could also lead to bloody repression. The stakes couldn't possibly be higher.
This is also the case in Egypt. Large, illegal street protests were met not with batons and rubber bullets, but rather with a call for reform. After US Secretary of State Condi Rice canceled a visit to the country, Egyptian strong man Hosni Mubarak asked the legislature to change the law to allow for multi-party elections. It is a small, calculated step to assuage his critics, but history has shown that these small fissures can lead to a massive rupture in the walls of state.
Over in Libya, Americans can once again travel and see this North African country's historical treasures. I can't wait until I can walk down the streets of Tripoli myself. The Libyan government has hired the Adam Smith Institute to advise it as it undergoes the most sweeping economic and market reforms in 35 years.
In Bahrain, UAE and Saudi Arabia, democratic elections are on the top of the agenda or already being held.
All of these developments are creating a snowballing effect that I haven't witnessed since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Another interesting development is the trend towards peaceful revolutions. Georgia, Ukraine, and now Lebanon; in all these cases the government was sent packing without blood shed and purely with the power of public consensus. I think that this trend is really getting into the blood of many oppressed and long suffering peoples around the world and especially in the Middle East. The scenes of free, fair elections in Iraq and Afghanistan has also emboldened those who needed to see a mechanism by which their frustrations could lead to positive change.

Cato criticizes No Child Left Behind

The Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom policy analyst Marie Gryphon looks at the structural faults and unintended consequences of the disastrous Bush education law here.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Report: 'No Child' Left Behind the Constitution

"Concluding a yearlong study on the effectiveness of President Bush's sweeping education law, No Child Left Behind, a bipartisan panel of lawmakers drawn from many states yesterday pronounced it a flawed, convoluted and unconstitutional education reform initiative that has usurped state and local control of public schools," the New York Times reports.

Canada says no to missile defense

On January 9th, I posted this article from the CBC in which US ambassador Paul Cellucci claimed that the Canadians were on board for joining in the US missile defense plan. As I stated then, the Canadians were amazed to learn that they had joined the plan considering it hadn't even been debated in parliament at that point. Today, Paul Martin announced that his country would have no part in the missile defense strategy. This is a big loss for Bush and Cellucci. Read the complete story here. It's interesting that Canada made the announcement on the same day that Bush met with Putin, almost guaranteeing that the story would be buried on page three.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Arab freedom train rolls on

If George Bush manages to fulfill his vision of a democratic, decent Arab world, he will be remembered by Muslims the same way that Ronald Reagan is remembered by "New" Europe. I have said for years that WMD and eminent attacks are nothing more than fear tactics designed to bring the American people along with him on his grand design for reinventing the world. But all that will be washed away if the trend continues as it is currently going. Libya has not only renounced WMD, but is currently on a gleeful mission to dismantle its socialist state and re-emerge as a legitimate, responsible player on the world stage. Israel is dismantling settlements and establishing final borders for a Palestinian state, Iraqis, Saudis, Kuwaitis and Bahrainians are voting (to some degree or another), Lebanon is trying to shake off Syria, Egyptians are defying their government and protesting in the streets and Sudan is signing peace agreements faster then they can print them. Tom Friedman observed that the "Berlin Wall" of the Middle East is beginning to fall, but unlike Europe, it will fall one bloody brick at a time. That could certainly prove to be true. Unlike the Cold War, this is not a battle of ideology or even a battle of systems. It is a fight between the desires of individuals for self-determination and the forces of tyranny. Each of those tyrannies has a unique character and set of circumstances, it is not like Europe where an ideology is discredited and that realization ripples through the system. But that does not mean that there is no ideology coming into play. The difference here is the increasingly wrong assumption of those in the West that believe that the Arab world is simply incapable of self-rule and pluralism. Now chinks are beginning to appear in their armor and their eventual repudiation could remake the world in the most dramatic and positive way since the end of the Cold War. Love him or hate him, George Bush will have been the architect of this historic shift.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Updated Federal Land Ownership Chart

Posted by Hello

Click to Enlarge

An astute reader pointed out that the chart I used to show Federal Land Ownership was lacking context. I used an old black and white copy I had on file. Above is the version that can be found on the US Department of Agriculture's National Resources Conservation Service web site. The shading areas represent different percentages of land under federal ownership. This correction in no way undermines the general focus of the piece. It is, however, my belief that it is essential to report facts accurately so that the reader can draw valid conclusions. My apologies for any confusion this may have caused.

An American Original

Hunter S. Thompson 1937-2005

It's better to burn out,

then to fade away - Neil Young

The complete story here.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

New Links Section

Please note that I have added a new category of links titled "Pillars of American Liberty". These include some of the documents upon which our freedom is based. It is an ongoing effort to make this site a learning tool as well as a sounding board. I encourage everyone to take time to read these documents; as the very context of our modern lives are contained therein. If you have any other links that you think this section should include, please click "view my complete profile" at the top of the page and then click "email" in the contact section and send me your suggestions. Thanks for your continuing support of The Freeman's Burden.

What would John Locke say?

The shaded area indicates property currently owned, in whole or in part, by the Federal government. This includes more then 90% of several western states. That is land that is unavailable for development, improvement or private usage without federal approval. Aside from the fact that the idea of the government owning a third of the country flies in the face of the intent of the founders about the necessity of private ownership, it also leads to massive abuse and mismanagement of the land under federal care. If you are having trouble understanding why this is an issue, think public restroom. When a thing is owned collectively, no one is responsible for, or has an interest in, properly maintaining and improving it. As a result, federal land is regularly leased to ranchers who over graze it and timber companies that over harvest it; or it is just left unattended and becomes ripe for potential forest fires and subsequent soil erosion. Private land is far less vulnerable to these issues because individuals have a financial stake in preserving their property by rotating herds, clearing underbrush, logging selectively and replanting to ensure future viability. Obviously, some things the government must own, they couldn't lease area 51 for example. But the idea that they should own even a fraction of the land they now control is indefensible. A one time auction of the majority of this land would produce a huge financial windfall and free the feds from the cost associated with managing all this property. At the same time, it would provide new areas for population growth, recreation and industry which could lower prices and raise economic activity to the benefit of all.


From: Harry

The "small government' President: When George Bush ran for President in 2000, and again in 2004, he tried to make us believe in each case that his Democratic opponent was a big-spending liberal and that he — George Bush — was a proponent of small, limited government.
He just submitted his 5th budget to Congress. Those five budgets have increased the size of the federal government by 38%. But after 8 years in the Presidency, Bill Clinton had increased the size of government by only 32%. "Small-government" George is way, way ahead of "big-government" Bill.
You can't blame the recent increases on Congress, because George Bush still hasn't vetoed a single bill in over 4 years in office.
Yes, Albert Gore and John Kerry are certainly liberals. But what is George Bush?

Friday, February 18, 2005

Friedman on Lebanon

I hadn't really planned on posting anything else today, but then I came upon Tom Friedman's column on the murder of Lebanese statesman and former Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri. I hadn't really commented on the killing, likely by the Syrian occupiers, and now I am glad I didn't. Mr. Friedman laid out the situation and the stakes far better then I ever could. Read the article here.

In defense of corporations & capitalism

This morning I woke and got out of my Sealy bed. I went into my kitchen and ground some Starbucks coffee beans before using my Krupps espresso machine to make a latte. I heated some water in my GE microwave and poured it over my Quaker Mills oatmeal. I then sat down at my Dell computer and accessed the internet via my Comcast cable internet service and an RCA modem. This is just a snapshot of a few minutes of one day in one persons life, but it illustrates the degree to which private and publicly held corporations have improved the lots in life of even poor college students such as myself.
I provide this illustration to give some context to begin talking about corporate power and the role of these companies in our lives and in the policies that government enacts to serve their interests. Anyone that knows me, knows that I am an avid defender of the free market and the corporate power structure on utilitarian grounds. The capitalist system has, simply, provided the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people compared to any other system that has ever been implemented. I also favor capitalism on ideological grounds. Free people must be free to engage in commerce and earn their way as they see fit, free of compulsion.
It drives me nuts when the Ralph Naders of the world want to blame every human foible on corporations and then propose the power of the state as the means to address it. Government has a long and dismal track record of undermining human freedom and failing to protect its citizens in almost every arena of life. I can't understand the utopianism that lead seemingly intelligent people to conclude that it is government, which has produced vast amounts of human suffering historically, that should address the short comings of the free market and corporate system which has produced the vast majority of the goods and services that make life pleasant and have only been responsible for human suffering on a relatively small and isolated scale.
A reader recently posted a comment to this blog fretting that the democratic process can rein in government, but not corporations and, hence, corporations represent a greater potential evil. I couldn't disagree more. I have on numerous occasions attacked the notion of the democratic process putting any kind of check on the ever expanding and consolidating power of government so I wouldn't rehash those arguments here. Instead I want to look at two specific points. One - Corporations are responsive to democratic pressures. Two - It is only when corporate money is used to influence government policies that corporations become a danger to the system and the individual.
On the first point, I need look no further then the example of Enron. Here we have a clearly rogue corporate power that was operating illegally and breaking every law that ran counter to their objectives. When they were exposed, it was the capitalist system that unmercifully punished them while the government largely sat on its hands. The stock price tanked as individuals and investment groups pulled their money out of the company. Enron was effectively ended as a company long before any indictment came down or any sanction was implemented. This is a perfect example of a democratic process (voting with one's money) putting a check on an out of control corporation. Granted that many investors and employees were hurt in the process but it was the illegal actions of the company and its leaders that caused this pain, not the system. They would have been hurt no matter what the government did and, although it sounds somewhat cold, it is the responsibility that every investor accepts when they choose to expose themselves to the risk that is inherent in the markets. If there were no failures, there could be no successes. The same is true of all the other high profile corporate malfeasance of the last few years. Adelphia, Global Crossing, Worldcom were all punished by the market long before government did anything. When government did act, it acted to punish the perpetrators, not to protect the investors and consumers. So to suggest that government is the proper protector of the people against corporate misconduct is to ignore history that has proven time and again that it is the self-regulating function of the market that most effectively culls the herd and assures efficiency in the system. This self-regulating function is unabashedly democratic.
On the second point, the corrupting influence of private money in the public arena, there can be no doubt that the private sector seeks to use the coercive power of government to pursue its own goals when it can. Is this the fault of the market or a fault of government? I would say that it is a little of both. To be more specific, it is a fact, as I have states before, of human nature that men will, when given the means, attempt to subject others to his whims and interests. If a mining company strips 50 square miles of government owned virgin forest, it is only after money has been used to gain the permits and approval of legislators and bureaucrats who, after all, must decide to allow such a visage blighting project to move forward. So then, the corporation is pursuing its own interests, which is rational, but can only do so because we have ceded significant power to administrators to allow it. This is true in any number of instances -- corporate welfare, pollution allowances, eminent domain, the hiring of illegal workers, no-bid contracting, regulatory roll-backs, tariffs, and worker protections to name just a few. In each case, a company pursues its own best interest by using the power of the state to subjugate the law or the natural rules of the market. This creates market distortions that can ripple through whole sectors and even the entire economy. When this occurs the corporation is rightly blamed for its excesses, but the government, whose power made the abuse possible, is left off the hook. A perfect example is pollution. The United States government is far and away the biggest polluter in the country. It creates many times over the amount of solid and gaseous waste that the largest corporation does. But due to sovereign immunity, it cannot be held to account, so instead the environmental lobby focuses on corporate polluter's who represent a fraction of the total problem. The proposed solution -- use the power of the state to limit pollution by corporations. This is obviously ridiculous, but no other solution exists since the government, funded by those private polluter's, claims regulatory authority over them and disallows privates suits being brought against them. It is a classic fox guarding the hen house scenario. Yes, the corporations behave badly because it is in their interest, but they can only behave that way because they have the government providing them the cover to do so. So should the blame be placed more on the companies that are pursuing their rational self-interest or on the government that protects them from market and judicial pressure being brought to bear?
In conclusion, it is the role that government plays in subverting the democratic processes of a free market that most directly leads to the tendency of corporations to behave badly. Free from the protection of government, corporations, and the free market generally, would be more responsive to the needs, wants, and expectations of investors, employees and consumers.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Debating marriage and freedom

In response to a Reason Magazine article I recently linked to:
Anonymous said...
John Coleman has an interesting idea,
but I don't think he makes a brilliant case for privatizing marriage. Maybe it's
your use of the word "church" that is confusing me. Marriage is an older
institution than church, if church refers to Christianity. I think he is
recommending that marriage be a religious rite only, not a legally binding
agreement between spouses. Correct? Wouldn't that be pretty much the same as
doing away with marriage?
F2S says:
There are two levels from which it is instructive to approach this issue: the philosophical and the practical. The philosophical is perhaps the easier to deal with. Freedom of association is the Constitutional objective. This implies both a positive and negative right. Free to come together into any group of two or more to pursue any issue, or interest, or lack there of. No justification is necessary so long as freedom is the standard. The flip side is freedom from. One should not be compelled by the pressure of any freely established group to which one has not freely entered into. When government grants a blessing of status or privilege onto any group freely constituted, it implicitly violates the rights of any citizen not belonging to such a group. So then for government to grant privilege, status or rights exclusively to a married couple based on the nature of that association, it violates a fundamental constitutional obligation, to preserve the right to freely associate.
The practical question is more complex. As anonymous points out, I was being sloppy when when I used the word "church" exclusively and failed to articulate the contract law approach to coupling. I also failed to define marriage in the context in which I used it. I use marriage in the narrowest sense of the word; as a definition of the union of a man and a woman sanctified by a church. I certainly don't mean to define "church" as Christian or any thing else, but rather to point out that this rite is, or should be, completely separate from any question of civil obligation or restriction based upon association. Marriage is simply a definition of a type of relationship, like partner, comrade or associate. None of these carry a de facto legal or contractual obligation. They are simply ways of contextualizing the nature of a relationship. Going to Anonymous question about rite v. Contract, I think he pretty much nails it. Marriage should be exclusively a rite, but far from doing away with marriage, this would take it away from policymakers and give it into the hands of the priests and preachers who will cherish and preserve it.
Marriage, as I have defined it, is a religious rite completely separate from any civil obligation, but that does not prevent one from entering into a contract with whomever they wish and assuming for themselves the obligations that such a contract would carry. Is that marriage or something short of it? That is only for those entering into such a union to define.
Today a couple (if constituted in such a way as to be acceptable to the authorities) can go to a courthouse and obtain a civil "marriage" without any church blessing that union. Is that really a marriage or just a civil contract? If it is just a contract, then how, given the freedom of association argument, can civil authorities deny that contract to same-sex couples, polygamists or any other sovereign citizens wishing to freely contract with each other?
On a seperate point, I would take exception to Anonymous's assertion that "marriage" is older then the church. Coupling for the sake of protection and procreation is certainly older then the church, but marriage as an institution is, traditionally, the sactification of a coupling before a god or gods. This predates Christianity, as Anynomous rightly points out, but not association based on religion.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The marriage racket

I have often commented that the solution to the gay marriage debate is not to legalize gay marriage, but rather to take all regulation of private relations out of the hands of government and back into the purview of the church where it has traditionally resided. John Coleman has made this case brilliantly and demonstrated how the state abuses its authority over marriage. Read the story here.
On an unrelated note, Brian Doherty looks at the new back door national I.D. card and other outrages passed by the House as part of H.R. 418. Read the article here. I also encourage everyone to contact their senators and express their outrage with this monstrosity.

Monday, February 14, 2005

FEC uncomfortable with political freedom on the net

Drudge Report is reporting that the Federal Elections Commission is looking into ways to restrict political speech over the internet. It is likely being floated as a trial balloon and if there is no significant protest then they will go ahead with the plan to further subvert the constitution and guarantee the unchallenged political power of the major parties. Be very afraid! The consolidation of political power into the hands of a small ruling elite continues unabated and our Constitutional Republic is dying on the vine. Where is the outrage? Read the news flash here.

State v. corporate power

I recently received this comment in response to a post on state power...

Anonymous said...
"... What progressives often point out is that
government power may not, in modern times, be any more harmful to our liberty
than corporate power, since we can at least try to make our government more
democratic and responsive to the public will, but we cannot force a corporation
to behave responsibly."

As those of you who know me personally know, this question of corporate or free market power is one of my favorites. Unfortunately, today is a travel day and I don't have time to fully address this question now. I will, however, post, in the next couple of days, an analysis of the role of corporate power in modern American life and the nature and dynamic of the relationship between corporations and the state. Thank you to all of you who regularly read and/or post comments to this site or e-mail me with your thoughts. I very much enjoy the intellectual challenge that you all provide and the opportunity to express my views. - F2S

Sunday, February 13, 2005

House backs nat'l ID card plan

As I predicted it would, the House of Representatives has approved a scaled back national ID card program. Instead of issuing the card through the Social Security Administration, the new plan instead mandates that the states meet certain criteria established by the act when issuing ID cards. Read more about this back door nat'l ID scheme here.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

On liberty and statism

I wrote the following in response to a comment posted in response to the essay "The Illusion of left & right" that appeared on this site earlier in the week. First is the posted comment followed by my response.
Anonymous said...
I agree with some of your arguments. If
Americans ever come to realize that their democratic ability to change
government has been taken away, there will be some violent change. Not the
"wreckage of liberty lost" you are predicting, though. Americans usually carry
out their revolutionary acts alone or in small groups. A bomb, a
shootout...that's enough to scare Americans back into their houses. As long as
we have our bread and circuses we don't care about statism. On the other hand,
what if we had a nation without a government? coercive taxation, no
meddling regulations, just the freedom to watch out for yourself. Oh wait, that
is Somalia, isn't it?
My Response...
It was Hobbes that said that government, no matter how oppressive, was far preferable to life in a state of nature where existence would be brutal and short. Just ask the Somalis. That was over 300 years ago and, thankfully, our political thinking has evolved just a tad since then. Of course, anarchy or bottom up social organization offers it's own set of vexing problems, but anarchy is an extreme that relies on the complete breakdown of social structure, or the complete rejection of it. To equate this essay with a call for anarchy really misses the point. The brilliance of the constitutional system is to delay the point at which government begins exercising excessive and extra-legal coercion to achieve its ends. The effort of this essay is to inspire some reflection on the question of when that point is reached. For my part, I believe we have far exceeded it and the response to 9.11 has reflected a government that no longer sees itself as bound to a set of guiding principles, the very principles that have made the American system unique and successful. I want to advance the idea that statism and liberty will always be in a tug of war and the momentum will always favor statism and the consolidation of power. Vigilance and activism may delay this process, but this process has been part of the character of human nature since the first time a man threatened another will a sharp rock. Closing your eyes to this historic trend will not change the fact. Nor will it change the fact that attempting to use the coercive power of the state to serve a good or noble end has produced far more misery and oppression then the exercise of personal liberty ever has. I look to the illustration of famine. Study of human prehistory has shown that early hunter-gatherers were relatively well buffered from starvation. Sure there is a chance of getting snowed in all winter unprepared or having your food stores eaten by animals, but there is no evidence of mass starvation predating the rise of the nation-state. Simply put, nature doesn't cause famine, government does. The same is certainly true of war, as well. Whenever you look into the mass killing, suffering or oppressing of human beings, at the heart of it is the abuse of power by some person or people, often for worthy cause, in a position of excessive power over others.

Friday, February 11, 2005

The Abbas gamble

The new Palestinian leader knew he would have his hands full when he took over last month, but Mahmoud Abbas has been doing what Arafat never had the courage to do. Yesterday Abbas fired three Palestinian military leaders who were also sacred cows of the Arafat era in response to a militant mortar attack on Jewish settlers. Today Abbas joined talks with militants in an effort to rein them in and abide by the terms of the recent cease fire. Abbas is walking a fine line between ensuring the interests of the Palastinians, the militants, the Israelis and the Americans. It would do the cause, as well as opinion in the Arab world, a great service if the Israelis and the Americans would take concrete steps to show the Palestinians and the militants that placing their faith in Abbas is a winning cause. The U.S. could do something brilliant such as suspending all military support for Israel until such a time as a final peace is implemented. As a practical matter, Israel is militarily set. They don't need more missiles, helicopters or trainers in the next year. They have been the biggest beneficiary of the war in Iraq, they owe us this. It would create the perception that America is being even-handed and putting tangible pressure on Israel to give the Palestinians their freedom. It costs little and offers a huge pay-off, the end of the perception of America as the agent of Israeli suppression of Muslims in Palestine that leads to horrible images and terrible P.R. in the Arab world. It also gives Abbas the chance to bargain with the militants from a position of having a dynamic policy that is taking pressure off of the Palestinians and ratcheting down the conflict. Read more about Abbas and the politicking inside the Palestinian Authority here.

Monday, February 07, 2005

The illusion of left & right

It occurs to me that the political philosophies that have guided party politics in America for more than 200 years have become so confused by the tendencies of statism and authoritarianism that have crept into our institutions of government, that the names ascribed to them have grown less useful and more misleading with time. The "liberal" of today's political universe could hardly be recognized by those that have traditionally assumed that mantle for the principles and philosophy for which it was named. The same can surely be said of today's "conservatives". The current debate on Social Security offers a prime example. The very notion of a program that seeks to redistribute wealth by coercion would be an anathema to classical liberals who would not only take exception with the state assuming for itself an obligation to the private welfare of sovereign individuals, but also the compulsion by the state to surrender privately earned means to the achievement of that end. Today's "liberal" party has not only made peace with this common violation of the legitimate role of federal power, but also seeks to maintain, unchanged, this system in spite of its coercive nature. The maintenance of the status quo has traditionally been considered "conservativism", but is now co-opted by the left. It is the modern "conservatives" that seek sweeping changes to the system, a position rightly described as liberal. Hence the logical consistency of the parties core principles must be called into question. If the maintenance of liberty is at the root of the American left, then it is logically inconsistent to use the power of the state to that end. For liberty and statism are opposing and conflicting political objectives. The same inconsistency dogs the American right. How can a party stand for Locke on property and Smith on capital and, at the same time, ignore there intellectual counterparts on matters of personal liberty? The answer, I think, lies in a truth more fundamental than any structure of cultural or political organization, human ambition. The principles of left and right have simply crumbled in the face of the corrupting influence of power. For it is the desire for, and pretensions of, political power that drive those that wish to exercise personal control over the mechanisms of government rather then any principled philosophy. In this reality lies the historical tendency of the state to grow larger and more oppressive with time. The Democrats are then compromised by their desire to socialize and regulate just as the Republicans are compromised by a desire to moralize and traditionalize. Both see the mechanisms of the state as the means to achieve their ends and whatever coercion is brought to bear for any end, liberty is the inevitable victim. Philosophical inconsistency undermines the credibility of those that choose to lead, eroding public trust and making coercion more necessary to the achievement of political goals. Hence the cycle perpetuates and accelerates the growing power of the state and, at the same time, the oppression of the individual. The cycle has, traditionally, only been ended by revolution (usually bloody) and the dissolution of the state. A new weaker state then emerges and the process begins anew. Jefferson certainly understood this and fretted that the republic would need to be renewed by blood every twenty years. The fact that our union has endured for over 200 years is a testament to the wisdom of those men that sought to form a more perfect union. But now, I fear and hope, the time has grown short as the whims of man's ambition have continued to subvert the interests of liberty and our shackles have tightened around our necks. It is no longer a question of if, but rather when, the desire to live free will outweigh the hope of security at any cost. I submit to you that believing that being shackled to the Democratic or Republican party will imbue one with a righteousness of cause has overlooked the fatal flaw and dangerous conceit of party politics. Both parties have their hands on the rudder and are steering the ship of state into oblivion. None will be spared the wreckage of liberty lost.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

The many faces of Bush

I am currently vacationing in central Texas and, hence, not following news, thinking deep thoughts or making much of an effort to post. I will shoot for a post every three or four days until I return on the 14th. In the meantime, check out Julian Sanchez's analysis of the State of the Union speech and the disconnect between George W. Bush & George W. Bush for Reason Magazine here. Another interesting Reason article explores the bankruptcy myth and why the case for privatization doesn't hinge on that issue anyway. Read it here.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The State of our union is increasingly dependent on gov't

In keeping with tradition, last night's State of the Union Address was little more then a laundry list of all the fabulous things that government can do in the next year to make our lives better. In addition to nanny, sugar daddy, physician and body guard, President Bush also wants the federal government to be America's stock broker. As my father astutely pointed out, every time that the government involves itself in another aspect of American life, it becomes the "foot in the door" to wider and wider government control. Education is a perfect example. The D.O.E. was proposed and sold as little more then a clearing house for federal dollars to aid localities and states. It was promised to be free of strings and compulsions and would not be a take over of education, but that is clearly what it has become. Social Security numbers were sold as narrowly focused and specific and would never be used for any other purpose, yet today you cannot function in American society without providing this number for virtually any service, public or private. The national income tax would never exceed 1% said the legislators that proposed it. Yet the highest bracket peeked at 90% in the early 1980's. The only product that government can create is more government. The Bush social security proposal is a foot in the door to the micromanagement by bureaucrats and eventual take over of the whole range of now private investment vehicles from the stock markets to the bond markets to real estate and commodities. I shudder at the idea and you should too!